Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer’s Bare-Bones Circus is just that: a kind of minimalist carnival devised and performed by two people inside a “ring” that’s really a rope lying in a circle on the floor. Together the pair dance, talk, embrace, play–all the ordinary things people do for fun–and yet they somehow make it into a spectacular event. Part of the appeal is the pleasure of seeing something created out of nothing: they make a clown from a bit of red rubber; an elephant from an odd, ponderous upside-down pose; a tightrope walker from an umbrella and some stylized graceful lurching; a merry-go-round out of a rope suspended from the ceiling. The other part is the emotional resonance this husband-wife duo give their land of fantasies and dreams: they don’t ignore the cruelty and risk of the circus; rather they create a phantasmagoria that’s often as scary as it is funny or thrilling. They employ a certain amount of sexual innuendo, which seems to place The Bare-Bones Circus in a no-man’s-land of relationships–every step might set off an emotional mine. Also on Bridgman and Packer’s program is a piece they’ve choreographed for a group of Chicago dancers. Thursday through Saturday at 8 at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 4730 N. Sheridan; $14-$15. Call 271-7928 for information and tickets.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Tom Brazil.